The Walrus, with its two pointed tusks and huge body frame, is an interesting mammal that is mainly found in the Arctic Circle. It is extremely sociable and enjoys loud bellows and snorts when communicating with its friends. This gentle mammal will only bring out its aggressive side during the mating season and when protecting itself against predators. So, how big can a walrus get? Read on to find out!
The pointed tusks come in handy when in battle and also when they need to haul themselves up from the water or for cutting through ice. They observe a hierarchical system based on body size, tusk length, and age. So, the best fighter will enjoy the highest place in the hierarchal system. Although slow on land, these massive creatures are very fast in the water.
Before answering the question of how big can a Walrus get, we need to make a distinction between two walrus species. There are the pacific walrus and the Atlantic Walrus. As the names suggest, the Pacific walruses live in the Pacific Ocean while the Atlantic walruses live in the Atlantic Ocean.
A baby walrus can weigh 130 pounds at birth. The walrus can grow to anywhere from 7.25 feet to 12 feet and can weigh up to 1.5 tons. In particular, the male pacific walrus can grow up to 12 feet and weigh up to 3,748 pounds while the female pacific walrus can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh up to 2,756 pounds.
The Atlantic walruses on the other hand are slightly smaller; they are approximately 3% shorter than the Pacific Walruses and weigh 10% less than the Pacific Walruses.
Granted they are heavy mammals even at birth, but what do walruses eat to support their weight for the rest of their lives? Much as Walruses can be found by the water, they rarely venture into deep waters for their food. They are carnivorous and enjoy feasting on clams, snails, mollusks, worms, shrimp, sea cucumbers, and soft shell crabs. Occasionally, a walrus may also enjoy some seabirds and seals.
Quick facts about the Walrus
- Unless they have to go diving for food, you will generally find Walruses in shallow waters (approximately 80 meters).
- They turn to interesting colors depending on the environment. Although predominately cinnamon brown, they turn white when in water for long and pink when the sun is up and their bodies get warm.
- Male Walrus tusks are longer and wider than for the female Walruses.
- They are easily startled and will make a beeline to the water to “escape” the predator thus causing a stampede.
- Walruses are extremely sociable and can be found in herds of the same sex.
- They can live up to 40 years, with the male Walrus reaching sexual maturity at 7 but having its mating privileges delayed up to 15 years thanks to the hierarchical system. The female Walruses reach sexual maturity at 4 years of age.
- There are approximately 200,000 Pacific walruses and 20,000 Atlantic walruses.
- Their two main predators are killer whales and polar bears.
- They have a loud bellow, which can be heard over 1.5km away!